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The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness (Op-Ed)

Artificial Intelligence: Singularity and Virtual Immortality

Artificial Intelligence: Singularity and Virtual Immortality

The growth of technology and Artificial Intelligence(AI) is on track to provide us with:

  • Singularity: A merging of human intelligence and AI, resulting in Superstrong AI.
  • Virtual Immortality: Our mental selves including our memories being uploaded on the cloud computer, making us live beyond our original biological bodies.

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The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness (Op-Ed)

The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness (Op-Ed)

https://www.livescience.com/52503-is-it-possible-to-transfer-your-mind-into-a-computer.html

livescience.com

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Key Ideas

Artificial Intelligence: Singularity and Virtual Immortality

The growth of technology and Artificial Intelligence(AI) is on track to provide us with:

  • Singularity: A merging of human intelligence and AI, resulting in Superstrong AI.
  • Virtual Immortality: Our mental selves including our memories being uploaded on the cloud computer, making us live beyond our original biological bodies.

Inner Awareness and AI

... or self-awareness is something many scientists and philosophers are discussing. The fact that there is consciousness inside us, is a big problem for those developing AI, as no matter what they do, and how technologically superior the product is, nobody can explain or even fathom the juggernaut of consciousness.

Qualia: Experiencing Sensations

Qualia relates to the raw sensations of experience, like colours, smells, sounds.

It is through our actual experience that we know what something tastes, looks or smells like, and it is not some information already drilled inside our brains on birth. We have to experience sensations to understand them.

Consciousness In Computers

  • Computers and AI can never have a real, conscious mind, even if they appear to behave, talk and act in the same way a human being does(like self-driving cars, for example).
  • Simulation of consciousness, however sophisticated, is merely a duplication, not the real thing.
  • Computers can be made to act conscious, by saying or doing things that make us believe they may be conscious, but consciousness, as we know, cannot be replicated in a non-biological system.

Giulio Tononi

Giulio Tononi

" To be truly conscious, an entity must be of a certain kind that can constrain its past and future — and certainly a simulation is not of that kind."

Virtual Immortality

... is a ripe area of debate, with some neuroscientists saying that it is not possible to transfer the entire person in a computer, and even if it is done successfully, the resulting entity would not be that person, but a ‘zombie’ who acts like that person.

These computers, armed with our mental information, may seem very intelligent and will claim that they are conscious, but they are not.

The Two Conjectures

  1. The nature of artificial intelligence singularity with a consciousness (hypothetically) is vastly different and superior to ‘Superstrong AI’ which may be supremely intelligent, and even appear to be conscious. Being conscious beats appearing conscious.
  2. The human inner awareness cannot be wholly recreated or synthesized as of today, so uploading one’s complete neural patterns and ‘brain information’ cannot be authentic virtual immortality. We aren’t able to reproduce or transfer first-person consciousness.

Trying To Define Consciousness

  1. The consciousness can be entirely physical, a product of the brain.
  2. It is an independent, unique entity, a special feature of physical reality, and can be a different reality in itself.
  3. Everything that exists has some form of ‘proto-consciousness’, or varying levels of consciousness, as stated in the old theory of panpsychism.
  4. Consciousness is non-physical, existing as a dual entity, connected to the physical brain at some metaphysical level. This non-physical substance is also called the ‘soul’.
  5. As believed by eastern religions for thousands of years, consciousness can be the ultimate reality, whereas our physical reality could just be a subset of the same.

Superstrong AI Being Conscious

  1. If consciousness were completely physical then it is easy for Superstrong AI to be aware like humans are.
  2. If consciousness is an independent unique entity, then one cannot say if computers, AI, and other non-biological entities can ever experience any real awareness.
  3. In the case of panpsychism, where everything can have a certain level of consciousness, then Superstrong AI, too by this logic, can be aware.
  4. If the ‘soul’ exists, connected to the human mind, then Superstrong AI can not experience any true awareness, no matter how advanced.
  5. If consciousness is the ultimate reality then everything could be conscious, including non-biological entities.

Digitizing The Self and Virtual Immortality

Virtual Immortality follows a similar path, depending on how we define consciousness.

  1. It is possible to upload a virtual self if consciousness is entirely physical.
  2. In case of consciousness being an independent entity, if it is understood and studied, then it is possible to upload a first-person mental self, though with some caveats and limitations.
  3. If everything is conscious then too, our mental self can be uploadable, provided advanced technologies can control consciousness.
  4. In case of consciousness being the soul, it would be impossible to transfer the self.
  5. If consciousness is the extreme reality, then it should exist in itself, without the need for unique digital upload.

The Self, Copied

In case a digital replication procedure does work perfectly, there is an unanswered question of where the self would be, if, for example, it is replicated five times. It can lead to various possibilities in the self:

  1. Each of the five replicas can be super-identical twins, with their own consciousness, or can be psychological zombies.
  2. I can sense that I suddenly have five other selves, and can merge with them.
  3. The consciousness shifts from one replica to the other, maybe in fragments.
  4. The original self disappears, and all of the replicas claim they are the original.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Consciousness: A Subjective Awareness

Consciousness: A Subjective Awareness

Consciousness is your own awareness of your thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, and environments. This awareness is subjective.

Your conscious experiences can change from one moment t...

Types of Consciousness

Changes in consciousness can result in changes in perception, thinking, and interpretations of the world.

  • Some different states of consciousness include dreams, hallucinations, hypnosis, meditation, sleep, and states induce by psychoactive drugs.
  • Altered levels of consciousness can occur and may be caused by medical or mental conditions that change awareness, e.g., coma, confusion, delirium, disorientation, lethargy, and stupor.

Changes in Consciousness

Changes of consciousness may be a sign of medical conditions, for example, aneurysm, brain infection, brain tumor or injury, dementia, drug use, epilepsy, heart disease, heatstroke, low blood sugar, poisoning, or shock.

If you think you are experiencing changes in consciousness, talk to your doctor.

2 more ideas

What mindfulness is

What mindfulness is

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

What meditation is

Meditation is exploring. When we meditate we venture into the workings of our minds: sensations, emotions and thoughts.

Mindfulness meditation asks us to suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness, to ourselves and others.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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The Hard Problem of Consciousness

The Hard Problem of Consciousness

Consciousness could be described as the feeling of being inside your head, looking out, or of having a soul.

How we learn, store memories, or perceive things, are easy prob...

Between Science And Philosophy

The problems of consciousness straddle the border between science and philosophy.

  • Some argue that conscious sensations, such as pain, don't really exist, others, that plants and trees must also be conscious.
  • A handful of neuroscientists have come to believe that the problem is about to be solved if we are willing to accept the conclusion that computers or the internet might soon become conscious too.

Ignoring The Problem

Science has been trying to ignore the problem of consciousness for a long time.

  • In the 1600s, René Descartes declared that nothing is more obvious and undeniable than the fact that we are conscious. Your consciousness can't be a fantasy. At the same time, your consciousness does not obey any of the usual rules of science. It doesn't seem to be physical. It can't be observed or really described. Descartes concluded that it had been bequeathed to us by God.
  • This Cartesian dualism remained the assumption into the 18th century. But it was unacceptable to the secular scientist that took the position that only physical things exist.
  • As late as 1989, the British psychologist Stuart Sutherland declared that it is impossible to specify what consciousness is, what it does, or why it evolved.
  • In 1990 Francis Crick and Christof Kock mentioned in a paper that most of the work in both cognitive and neurosciences makes no reference to consciousness because most don't know of a useful way of approaching the problem.

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